June 14, 2005

They smile in your face

The following is the letter to the editors published in the June 14 Dispatch/Argus from David Nipper, of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2371.
I am a concerned citizen of the state of Illinois. I see where the politicians and the governor agreed to balance the budget with the pension money of the state workers. This is a bad idea.

We already know how the state pays its bills -- always behind, always promising. Will they come after my pension plan next? Maybe yours? The way Social Security is now, my pension is critical to my survival when I'm older. This is scary.

The purpose of this letter is to let everyone know what fibbers our state representatives are. To put it nicely:

A few weeks ago, we rallied at a union hall in East Moline to protest this plan. The dishonorable Sen. Mike Jacobs, Rep. Pat Verschoore, and Rep. Mike Boland were there among others. They were there to state their opinion on this issue.

They all talked so sweetly to us, "Oh, we would never, ever vote for taking state pension money to balance the budget." Each one got up and made a speech, looking us in the eye and lying through their teeth. Each one of them voted "yes" to the budget plan. Is my pension plan in their sights for next year? I'm talking a matter of weeks that they changed their values, their ideas, and flip-flopped on this issue.

They could have said, "We are still studying this plan, this issue. We do not know yet what we will do." But no, they told us what we wanted to hear and then stabbed us in the back. I believe they should be held accountable.

I shook hands with Jacobs and Verschoore and thanked them for their stand on this issue. They smiled right back at me knowing they were lying to us. It makes me sick.

I do not pretend to be as smart as these guys. They know the issues better than me, no doubt, but I did not just fall out of the turnip truck, either. I know a fibber when I hear one, and I heard three that day of our rally.

People, unite and don't forget come election time. Vote these three out before they come after your pension plan next. Instead of cutting perks, cutting spending and cutting back on pork projects at this time.

These three are Democrats, but now let's call them "Demoliars." At least with Republicans, we already know they are out to screw the working guy. They don't pretend to be our friends. With these three, sure, smile and shake their hands, but don't believe what they say and don't turn your back on them.

Remember, this is not a random attack, but a true story. Maybe this is how they work in Springfield, but here in the Q.C., we don't like being lied to.

If this is the best that the Q-C area has to offer, God help all of us. We will need it.
Perhaps this had something to do with Jacobs' frustration in his statements after taking this vote. Sounds like they all got rolled, which sometimes is unavoidable, but as Nipper says, in this case, it sounds like the politicians just couldn't resist the urge to tell people what they wanted to hear before being truly committed to the position.

But what likely happened is that the pols WERE committed to the position when they spoke to the union, it's just that the budget frenzy is wild, wooly, and pretty crazy when it goes down to the wire. They likely found themselves between a rock and a hard place, having to hold their noses and voting for the budget despite their misgivings. I would speculate that in this case, the larger interests of preventing Republicans from gaining control over the buget probably trumped their committment to AFSCME.

Let's hope that the pols can have a heart to heart with AFSCME and explain honestly why they found themselves voting against the interests of people they'd pledged to support. Honesty, though sometimes painful, is the best policy, even for politicians. But methinks we won't hear the politicians crowing about this "achievement" any time soon.

**Addendum Knowledgable commenter "Political Wind" provides information which throws Mr. Nipper's letter into a different light. He reports that the union position was in favor of the budget agreement, not against. Head Usher also provides a direct quote from the an AFCSME web page which directly contradicts Mr. Nipper's assertions. See comments below.

38 Comments:

At 6/14/2005 8:39 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

I'm not sure Mr. Nipper has a grasp of the political situation that is Springfield. When you are an individual legislator, a handful of legislative leaders and the Governor end up putting the end of session legislative package together. Individual legislators, like Jacobs, Verschoore and Boland, are referred to as "mushrooms" because they are told to sit quietly and wait until the decisions are made.

Mr. Nipper needs to cut our legislators, all of them, some slack on this issue.

 
At 6/14/2005 9:07 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Mr. Nipper, I appreciate your spunk but get your damn facts straight. AFSCME was in favor of the budget that Jacobs, Verschoore and Boland voted for. I am a card-carrying member of AFSCME and that was in our end-of-session newsletter that arrived in the Quad Cities today!

Come on, Mr. Nipper, quit playing your Republican shenanigans. You were put up to this by the Springfield Republicans and Sen. Todd Sieben. Come clean, Mr. Nipper, your Republican spin won't work here!!

 
At 6/14/2005 9:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Aha.... as is often the case, it appears that with this, things aren't exactly what they appear to be.

 
At 6/14/2005 10:25 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

"WHEN IT COMES TO FAIR PENSIONS for state and university employees, the news out of Springfield in the final days of the legislative session is very good. We have beaten back virtually all the pension-benefit cuts that Gov. Blagojevich proposed, and there will be no two-tier benefits for new employees."

"This was the only way to avoid to avoid deep cuts to state services and layoffs of state employees."

- AFSCME31.org

Dope, after you and Mr. Nappier read PESNION CUTS DEFEATED at www.afscme31.org, you may want to issue an apology to Senator Mike Jacobs, Represetative Pat Verschoore and Mike Boland.

Live and learn Dope!

 
At 6/15/2005 2:58 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Apology for WHAT???!!!

Reprinting a letter to the editor? Get real.

I allowed in my comments that this was likely hard to avoid. And after reading PoliticalWinds comment, I added an addendum pointing out that there were problems with Nipper's assertions.

Politicalwind and yourself have shown how Nipper was in error.

That's how things work.

I have nothing whatsoever to apologize for.

 
At 6/15/2005 6:36 AM, Blogger illinoisone said...

Well well well, so the three who represent us are really mushrooms?

I guess that explains why Mike Jacobs and Pat Vershorre get the cushy appointment over some folks when all the resumes are stacked together for those open seats when vacancys occur. I remember at least 3 others who wanted the Vershoore seat when he was gifted recently and he's 'suppposed' to be a big labor guy.

As the chairmen of the Counties involved made their difficult deliberations in back rooms over who was worthy of an easy ride into incumbancy -- John Gianulis - the most powerful voter in the pack went mushroom hunting instead of looking for real qualifications huh!

That explains a lot.

 
At 6/15/2005 6:45 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Comon Usher - I mean Mike Jacobs. What do you really mean?

If you don't like the Dope printing this - that which has been already published in the newspapers - and feel so strongly on the issue, then write a letter to the QC area papers, sign your name to it and set the record straight instead of attacking the Dope and keeping up the charade.

 
At 6/15/2005 7:11 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Mr. Nipper I've got news for you. You may want to sit down. Its probably not the first time these shrooms have lied to someone.
These APPOINTEES have the best job they have ever had in their lives and they aim to keep it.[Well maybe not Jacobs his Dad already had gotten him a high paying do nothing state job]
Verschoore will do what he is told!!! And no more!

 
At 6/15/2005 9:03 AM, Blogger hud50 said...

sure, they're not leaders. but being a majority shroom is a heck of a lot better than being a loudmouth in a party with no power.

 
At 6/15/2005 9:45 AM, Blogger diehard said...

That may be true Hud. But what are we paying these guys for? Maybe we should have a sliding scale for our legslature. That could help us out with the budget. Madigan and Emil make the top of scale. Verschoore and Jacobs apprentice.

 
At 6/15/2005 10:02 AM, Blogger hud50 said...

While I admit I can't provide any examples, I'm sure that those guys are able to bring home more bacon than..say.. Haring could if he was in right now. Essentially we pay them to get it done for us.

Interestingly, many back benchers do become leaders. Dick Gephardt started as a young kid who kept his mouth shut and just listened to the problems that everyone had, and eventually everyone trusted him so they gave him the leadership post.

 
At 6/15/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

Rather than simply be ticked off at candidates who receive the appontments, has there been any effort whatsoever to actually change the system of appointments?

We have rules for a reason, and that is for them to be followed. As long as there is a process in place, we need to adhere to it.

I think in some ways that process may not be fair, particularly in a State Rep or Senate District such as the Quad City Districts, where one county has most of the votes and therefore that particular county chairman alone makes the decision, but as the statute stands, that's the way it works.

Rather than take it out on those who receive the appointments, maybe someone should write concerning the process. I didn't check very often either when Rep. Verschoore or Sen. Jacobs was appointed, but I do not recall seeing any editorial that focused on the process rather than the candidate. All were vitriol against the particular person who received the appointment. That is certainly unfair.

 
At 6/15/2005 11:16 AM, Blogger diehard said...

High
You seem to be very touchy about our precious represenitives. I suggest you send them a card telling theme how wonderful they are!
As for the newspapers they cowtow to who ever has the power. The Dispatch is the most gutless exuse for toilet paper substitute that calls itself a newspaper!

 
At 6/15/2005 1:06 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

DieHard,

I'm sure my reps know how I feel about them, thanks.

My point in my post was not to talk up state reps and sens or express my personal opinion of them. The goal was to point out that attacking someone for being appointed isn't practical, and serves no purpose other than to cheapen the dialogue. You want to prevent the politician you don't like from being appointed next time, then argue that the procedures are bunk. (which I concur, they are)

I myself would prefer special elections in all cases, although there is probably a fairly large population that would object to the state spending money on an election that would draw probably very little turnout.

 
At 6/15/2005 1:12 PM, Blogger diehard said...

It all amounts to how much uck you have with Ganulis. Or if you are a Jacobs, John Ganulis fears you!

 
At 6/15/2005 1:13 PM, Blogger diehard said...

I know just leave the seat vacant until the next election. Or make it so the one that is appointed cannot run for that seat!

 
At 6/15/2005 1:42 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

Those are certainly reasonable options, although I don't agree with them.

First, I think seats need to be filled as much as possible. Regardless of the candidate, it is fair to argue that somebody assigned to represent local interests is better than to have that community not represented at all.

Your second option is also reasonable, but still, would you propose it if a candidate more suitable to you had gotten the appointment instead? I think I'd might argue that it is unfair to punish someone because they had abilities that at least someone thought were good enough to fill the post.

 
At 6/15/2005 1:50 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

This is a very interesting topic, and the comments are great.

High has a good point. While it's fine to resent appointments, the fact remains that the rules as they stand were followed.

Perhaps the energy spent in dissing those in office for having been appointed would be more honestly and effectively spent trying to change the system for making those appointments.

But of course, that may be a real pipe dream, as only the insiders and high party officials could effect any meaningful changes there, and what are the chances of that happening?

It's a touchy issue though. Certainly the politicians can't be personally blamed for having been appointed. And they have nothing to do with the way the system for appointing officials is currently set up. It certainly isn't their "fault", so to speak, and the mere fact that they were appointed should have no bearing on how well they do their jobs. Their performance in office should trump how they got there.

I do believe though that opponents will use the fact that politicians were appointed as an issue. While unfair on one level, in politics using resentment over this, and the suggestion that politicians didn't "earn" their position is fair game. Jacobs and Vershoore shouldn't be surprised at this and should be prepared to counter it.

 
At 6/15/2005 1:52 PM, Blogger diehard said...

Also a big part of the problem is money. Its why mediocer reps like Verschoore and Jacobs aren;t going anywhere. Number one Madigan protects his incumbents.
Jacobs is sitting on his dad's money.
You would have to find someone wuth that kind of money to run for the legislature that gives a crap about that office.
lets not punish any of these lazy asses lets beat them at the ballot box!

 
At 6/15/2005 1:54 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I agree completely, Dope. It's going to be used as an issue because that's the way the business is. Candidates should recognize that it is coming and should be prepared to defend their records.

 
At 6/15/2005 2:02 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I agree with diehard here, too. (At least part of it)

Money tends to rule all in politics. The problem is that it is as much the voters' fault as it is politicians. Many voters are hurt so badly by today's economic environment, and the stress of raising a family in it, that they don't have time to pay close enough attention to the issues that matter to them. With a bit of effort, they could find the truth about any particular candidate and their issues, and make their decision. The problem is that it is bad enough out in the world today, that voters don't even have the time or energy to look into their candidates.

This leads to voters only being informed by the "easy" sources like tv ads and political mailings, which are obviously self-serving and also cost....wait for it....money!

So, though it certainly isn't intentional, tired voters are part of the political equation.

 
At 6/15/2005 4:41 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

Maybesomeday (Mike Boland),

Are you aware that Republican House Leader Tom Cross is coming to Johnnny's Italian Steak House on June 30th to host a high-priced fundraiser for your general election opponent, Steve Haring?

 
At 6/15/2005 4:59 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Mr. Haring doesn't have a chance and I'll tell you why. His record on economic development in the upper part of the 71st District is very unremarkable. In fact, on a scale of 1-10 his record on job creation ranks about zero up there.
Why would anyone want to put him in office? We don't need more of the same.

 
At 6/15/2005 6:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

High, you've hit the nail on the head. "Voter apathy", for lack of a better word for it, is the underlying phenomena of all that's going wrong in politics.
Yes, money has completely perverted the system. Yes, the field that used to be aptly called "show business for ugly people", politics, has now morphed into almost pure showbusiness, with telegenic pretty boys and girls being run for office over long-time activists and experieced candidates. The PR game is getting more sophisticated, more coordinated, and the tactics are more and more cynical in manipulating the public.

But that has always been the huge sticking point in my mind. I've been very bothered for years by the fact that it's an accepted, and often proven fact that the candidate with the most money wins. Why?
This must show that the public is easily led. Why else would an empty suit dumbass with tons of money be able to beat an experienced and capable candidate? The only conclusion is that people actually believe the tripe they're told and shown, and the person that can afford to show it to them and tell it to them the most, wins.

This begs the question, are people really just dumbass lemmings? Is it really that easy to lead the public around by the nose?

The answer, obviously and very sadly is, yes.

But, while a lot of the people actually are simple-minded, unsophisticated morons, the fact remains as High put so well, that when the wolf is at the door, staying politically aware or even giving a damn about it ends up way down on the priority list.
People are often living in a state of constant stress, both over work, kids, and the constant worry of how the bills are going to get paid and just praying that nothing bad happens, such as a loss of a job or health problems.
People are up against it. And the Republicans are working like little beavers to make sure they can get no releif, slashing the safty net, making it near impossible to file bankruptcy and get debts forgiven, and many other measures which they've slipped in under the radar. There definitely is class warfare going on in this country. And it's a war by the rich against the middle class!

So, people can be forgiven if they're not willing or able to do the work it takes to become informed citizens. And all the noise and static from campaigns and the hapless media doesn't make it any easier. One has to really work to try to seek out sources of the truth these days, as there is a tsunami of noise, spin, PR, and sheer B.S. out there that rages like a storm. Getting to the truth takes a lot of work.

So, how do we turn the tide? How do we ensure that the public is provided with facts and the truth?

One way would be to expand and provide more funding for quality non-commercial public media, such as NPR and PBS.

But the Republicans have vowed to destroy that last bastion of unbiased news, and are in the process of controlling the editorial content to make sure that the conservative story line gets more play.

The Public is getting whacked, and the right is making sure that it is increasingly hard for them to get any viewpoints that aren't the approved right wing line.

First, we get rid of the bastards... then.......???

 
At 6/15/2005 10:04 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

Deart Politicalwinds,

Republican Leader Tom Cross thinks Steve Haring can beat Mike Boland and that's all that matters!

Look for Haring to seize and hold Boland's unoccupied flank.

QUESTION OF THE DAY?

Which Democrat candidate (with manpower from Congressman Lane Evans and money from Senator Mike Jacobs has the best chance to beat Mike Boland?

[ ] Dennis Ahern
[ ] M. Clarence Darrow
[ ] Phil Banaszick
[ ] Mike Smiddy
[ ] Jerry Lack
[ ] Mike Hughtoon
[ ] Porter McNeil
[ ] Tony McCombie


Maybesomeday (Mike Boland),

The walls seem to be closing in on you buddy!

 
At 6/15/2005 11:25 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Hey Mr. Headusher -

Why do you continue to promote Steve Haring? As a Democrat, I flinch every time I hear you promoting his events. Why don't you kool it, ok? This is a tough district that will require a united ticket to win the seat. The more you promote Haring, the more difficult it will become.

And for all those candidates, I think my vote would be for either Steve Ballard or Toni McCombie but I'm certainly open minded to Ahern or McNeil and maybe Smiddy.

 
At 6/16/2005 1:10 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Speaking for myself, I have no freaking clue who Smiddy or Hugetoon are, other than joke candidates invented by HeadGusher.

And Toni McCombie (Why not Hootie McBooty?) is some bubble-headed hottie that seems to be viable only in the mind of HeadGusher.

What's up?

 
At 6/16/2005 6:20 AM, Blogger latinv said...

Ahern.

However, anyone who has read this blog knows I supported him last time, so my opinion is slightly biased. He works hard, he can speak with people, he has his fathers, and now his brothers free press and good will with the Rock Star of Illinois politics, Barack Obama, to lean on, and he has toiled for years for good dems (I know, I know so has Porter- and if he runs and wins, I would have no problem supporting him). Why did not Lane and Jacobs help him last time? Will they truely help any challenger this time? I highly doubt it...

 
At 6/16/2005 7:36 AM, Blogger none said...

I am going to second you LatinV. I like the manufactruing angle Ahern is still trumpeting for the Case plant. Turning it over to the Sac/Fox tribe, who legally are not required to pay property taxes to East Moline, scares the heck out of me. What if they have a bad quarter, or year, do you think they will give a gift to the city? Look at the Meskawki Casino in Tama,Iowa, that tribe does nothing, I mean nothing more then it is legally required to do in Iowa. I might add though Mr. Ahern, Hyundai is fast on the heels of Toyota, so watch them too.

 
At 6/16/2005 9:50 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Clarence Darrow 's running against you Mi I mean headrusher!
And shame on you! You probably talked a lot to all these people and acted like you would support them!
youv'e made a primary bed now you'll have to lye in it. Who are you going to support? Who the hell are Mike Smiddy and Tony Mcombie anyway someone else youve been misleading?

 
At 6/16/2005 1:02 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

I suspect Representative Boland will decide in due time, and we should support his decision whatever that may be.

But the RI County Democratic Party had better start encouraging the new generation of younger talent.
It is incumbent upon the incumbents to start opening some doors to younger talent that has been patiently waiting in the wings. That is how you grow a political party.

 
At 6/16/2005 1:52 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Politicalwind - I agree. Yes, Gianulis seems only interested in the gray hairs or those with money no matter what color their hair.

He does not mentor anyone and he stomps on those who try and work hard for much deserved recogntion.

Some of the young people in RI County who have been ignored by Gianulis even though they show everyone they can work hard and have passion for the Democratic party:

Dennis Ahern
Pat O'Brien
Porter McNeil

Unless you have a ton of power and/or money or your last name is Gianulis and there are quite a few of his relatives out there enjoying nice state paychecks now - he does not care about you.

The future of the party is in the hands of an old man who needs to step down and let someone energize it!

 
At 6/16/2005 2:38 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Hey "maybesomeday" --

I tip my hat to County Democratic Chairman John Gianulis. He inherited a Republican dominated RI County in the late sixties and transformed the county into solid Democrat. He has helped us make tremendous strides.

My comments were aimed not at the county chair, but rather at the countywide officeholders in this county, each of whom makes a minimum of $70,000 and runs for re-election over and over again. My observation is that we need to encourage those incumbents to recycle the leadership on a frequent basis. I'm not for term limits, but believe they should limit themselves to two terms (8 years) and you're o-u-t. In 8 years, a good official can truly make a difference and then move onto something else.

Public office was never meant to be a lifetime achievement award. It was meant as an opportunity to do some good for the public and then move on.

Dick Leibovitz in office 20 years?

That's exhibit A. He's done a solid job, but it's time for a change.

 
At 6/16/2005 6:23 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Political Wind, you know that what you suggest will never happen with two term limits. Part of Newt Gingrich's contract on america was term limits and then when it was time to enact that, the party in power had selective memory. Newt himself was the only one forced to carry that mantra and actually term limit himself voluntarily.

The only way to really change what happens in any party structure is with a change in leadership. That's why I point to Ginulas.

He is stuck in the WWII era in many ways. If Ginulas wanted to, he could encourage the youth and he could enlarge the territory and gain new Dem officeholders but unless it's lower RI county or Andalusia or Rock Island Township, S RI Township areas, he really is not passionate about what is happening.

We just had municipal elections, and I saw him spend a ton of time talking about the areas listed above and how important they were. His committeemen had to remind him that there was a huge race in Moline and in East Moline for Mayor that he should contribute resources. He totally missed the East Moline Dem primary for Mayor and look what happened. He never once set foot in Moline during the Mayor and alderman elections and look what happened there. The first chance EVER to get a true Dem as Moline mayor went down the tubes and Gianulas was not there to help get out the vote. He let the Republicans beat up on Pat O'Brien and Ginaulas never stepped up to help or share resources except a bit here and there.

John G could have sent an army in for the election if he wanted to - but Moline and Em are not the ground he cares about - since they are upper county.

I have been watching him for years hoping for change but you know what they say, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Thus he stays with turf he knows and does not venture out.

So Politicalwind, without new leadership, we continue status quo.

 
At 6/17/2005 7:05 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

In case anyone is interested, Vershore writes his own explanation in the Dispatch letters to the ed today where he blasts Mr. Nipper on his prior letter blasting Vershore's vote.

Seems that Vershore says that he was talking about something else at Nipper's meeting? If I read it correctly, Vershore's arguement to defend his vote is pretty weak.

At the end of the day no matter what Vershore did say to the union at the prior meeting, Vershore still voted aye to allow the use of pension funds to fuel the state's debt and that is a very valid concern that the union has with regard to their future of their pensions.

Everyone can say Jacobs is a chest puffer and self promoter but his remarks on the floor of the Senate covered his ass a bit on this one. It seems obvious that Vershore did not have a plan on what to do if he got gigged on the vote by the unions.

So Vershore, stand up tall and take it like a man. You made your decision to vote for the bill and now you have to take your licks from those who don't like it.

Mr. V I hope you got a few of the MOU's that the Chicagoites did for that tough vote or it may not be worth it for ya!

Especially since Vershore is supposed to be the big Union guy in our QC area representation and got that seat given to him over someone else with even more knowledge of union structure who actually has worked hard for a living and not faked it for years and whom I know who would have done a better job in so many more ways......but that's another post another day.

So if you don't like it Vershore, step down and let someone else stronger and more qualified handle the hot stuff.

 
At 6/17/2005 1:45 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

If a "young gun" is unwilling to fight for what he or she belives in, why would the "old Guard" turn-over the keys?

 
At 6/18/2005 9:58 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Usher explain that last post. You are not getting it are you? What's your point if you have one??

 
At 6/18/2005 3:04 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

Maybesomeday -
(I mean Mr. Boland)

Everyone realizes that you are a wholey owned subsidiary of Speaker Mike Madigan. Wihout Speaker Madigan's management, money, manpower and media machine --- you are finished.

If an enterprising "young gun" r has the brains to stand up against you and for themselves, they will find the Speaker ready to help! As it is said the Speaker is "sick and tired of bailing out Boland!"

That's what I meant about "fighting for what you belives in." In my humble opinion, too many "young guns" stand aside and look!

Are any of you boys ready to get your hands dirty? Do you have fire in your belly? Are you willing to lay it on the line for all to see?

If so, please make an appointment with Speaker Mike Madigan. Ask the Speaker Madiagn why he is forced to protect a "safe" Democrat House seat. Ask the Speaker why he had to spend $1.3 million to bail out Mike Boland? Ask the Speaker how Boland's "Safe" House seat became the Republican Party's number one target?

Trust me, the Speaker is more than ready to dump Boland. Speaker Madiagn has grown weary of having to bail out Boland year after year. Madigan seeks stability.

Assure the Speaker that upon election, that you understand his leadership role Tell Madigan that he won't have to spend another dime to reatin this seat. Relate that you know how to get along with others. You may be surprised by his response.

I hope that clears up any confusion you were having Mr. Boland. Have a great weekend "Squish!"

 

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